Children can bring enormous joy and fulfilment to relationships and although increasingly many partnerships exist perfectly happily without children it is still the norm for couples to expect to have and raise children.

Although it is rare that you hear of a relationship breaking up because of children, the strain of wanting and not being able to have a child, losing a child and bringing up children can all contribute to the tensions that lead to the breakdown of relationships.

A surprising number of partnerships begin and continue right up to marriage without really discussing how the respective parties feel about children. The subject may be avoided because it is often linked to commitment and settling down rather than continuing to have a good time.

Many couples plan to have children at some point but whether that point happens to be the right moment for both partners may be an area of conflict. Two of the hardest tests of a relationship occur when one partner wants a child and the other either is not ready or never wants one or when both partners are ready but discover that either or both partners are infertile.

There are a number of significant life events related to children that can cause problems in your relationship, regardless of its strength. The following section gives useful information and key advice on dealing with issues such as abortion, miscarriage, infertility and attitudes to raising children.

FamilyLine is a registered and established charity providing a freephone helpline and email support service to families who might be experiencing problems.